I see no hope for Nigeria ― Opadokun

Former Secretary of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Pa Ayo Opadokun, has decried the fate of Nigeria, saying that the circumstances of the most populous African nation reflect hopelessness and bleak future among the comity of nations in the world.

Pa Opadokun, who is the Convener of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms, spoke while delivering a lecture on ‘Nigerian Education and Library Services at the Molete Baptist Church, Ibadan, on Sunday.

He said: “I do not see hope on the horizon for Nigeria because those who should ask questions are busy grumbling. Both the young and old are not doing the needful. That would not bring a good result. Those who lament are not in my good books.

“Nigerians know what is wrong but they are busy lamenting. They know what to do to right the wrong but they do not have the guts or the conviction of the heart to face the consequences of their action to ensure that the right thing is done. So, God be with all of us.”

According to him, political justice is impossible in Nigeria because the foundation of the country was constructed on injustice. “Political justice is a prescription of a situation where all parties are equal, whereby no-one is in a position to impose his will on the other,” he said.

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Going down the memory lane, he stated that the British came with superior war arsenals to colonise and coerce the different ethnic nationalities that they met in their land. He said that the nationalities did not submit to the colonial masters voluntarily but were conquered.

“They forced us to cohabit. With that kind of foundation, you cannot be talking of political justice. Unfortunately for us again, we were just five years into self-governance as a country when the military took over. And when the military conquers any territory, all that is in the territory is part of spoils of war. Nigeria, its people, it’s endowment and resources (human and material) are the spoils of war. And, the military has little regards for education.

“This is a major setback for Nigeria. This has hindered the country’s ability to contribute significantly to human civilisation. They worsened the situation because they sheepishly conceded to the enforcement of their so-called lingua franca on us. Invariably, what they have done to us is that the mother tongue, which should be the foundation or superstructure upon which a child can be educated was shattered.

“The Nigerian learners are going through multiple jeopardies now because they lack the fundamental superstructure upon which their education should be based. They do not understand the foreign language that was foisted on them and they don’t have a good grasp of their mother tongue because in most homes today, use of mother tongue is punishable because it is regarded as vernacular. That is injustice in the area of education.”

He made reference to efforts by a team of researchers led by late Professor Babs Fafunwa, saying that they used the English Language to teach all subjects to some students in Osun State while the other were taught all subjects in the Yoruba Language. He said: “There was monumental success in the results of those who were taught in Yoruba. But, the military came and bastardised the experiment.

“The military also came and frustrated our negotiated federal arrangements and substituted it with centralised system. That is part of the crisis of our lives. The military had a little regard for education. Look at the percentage that they allocate to education. We usually have a situation where between three to five per cent of the budget is allocated to education annually. Of the paltry sum, hardly would 20 per cent be spent on education. About 50 per cent would be spent on bureaucracy and contracts. In the last eight years, our recurrent expenditure as a nation has been between 78 and 82 percent. With such a scenario, how can a nation develop?”

He urged the congregation to make further investments in education by making available improved library facilities in the mission school.

The Host Pastor of Molete Baptist Church, Reverend Edward Alabi, describing Pa Opadokun as a lover of truth, said: “We do not hold the issues of education and importance of the library with levity. A child who doesn’t like reading cannot cohabit with me. Raise a child, plant a tree, read a book and you would be seen as a great person.”

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